Sunday, July 26

peaceful heart

I have been amongst my books for the past few days, sorting and dusting and making piles. It is grubby work, and rather melancholy, as I decide what to keep and what to give up.

This afternoon I came across a lovely (inside and out!) Henry Van Dyke book (have you met him yet?) called The Friendly Year. It has an excerpt from his writings, one for each day of the year, and my edition is from 1912. For today:

July 26th

"Do you suppose that this wondrous stage of earth was set, and all the myriad actors on it taught to play their parts, without a spectator in view? Do you think that there is anything better for you and me to do, now and then, than to sit down quietly in a humble seat, and watch a few scenes of the drama? Has it not something to say to us, and do we not understand it best when we have a peaceful heart and free from dolor? That is what in-dolence means, and there are no better teachers of it than light-hearted birds and untoiling flowers, commended by the wisest of all masters to our consideration; nor can we find a more pleasant pedagogue to lead us to their school than a small, merry brook."

A timely reminder in the fast-slipping summer days and also the gift of a new word to roll around my mouth.....dolor (meaning a state of sorrow or distress). And to find that the meaning I knew for "indolence" is only a recent one (18th century : ), and that it previously meant simply the absence of "dolor". Something I will be seeking as I remember to more often be a spectator of this world...with a peaceful heart.


  1. So Beautiful,this passage that evokes in me a feeling of calm and peace that I so desperately need at this time in my life.

    Thank you for this lovely post, Dear Lesley!

    My Love and God's Blessings Always,

  2. Your words are like a long cool drink of water.

    I have not read Henry Van Dyke...yet.

    Wishing you joy,
    Mary Anne

  3. what a lovely insight, thank you for sharing it.